Seminary training is one way to develop some tools that are useful for pastoral ministry. Specifically, seminary is a good place to learn theology, church history, the biblical languages, and the tools of exegesis.
On the other hand, personal ministry within the local church is absolutely essential training for a pastor. It is in the local church that a man’s character is formed and assessed, that he learns how to disciple and counsel others, and that he learns how to preach and teach.
A pastor can make unwise use of commentaries and other resources in sermon preparation if he allows them—rather than the text itself—to set his sermon’s agenda.
For a preacher, knowing the original languages can be likened to what Paul said to slaves about freedom: “If you can gain your freedom, do so. If not, be content with what you have” (1 Cor. 7:21, paraphrase). In other words, if you are able to learn the original languages, do so. They are a valuable tool. But such knowledge is not absolutely necessary for a preacher, for a number of reasons.
That question is impossible to answer in the abstract, so here are some principles to help a pastor think through what kind of a priority he should give to visiting hospitalized church members.
Teach your people why you preach expositionally. Consider preaching a sermon in which you explain the necessity and benefits of expositional preaching as well as how to listen to an … keep reading…
Traditionally, Christians have referred to two kinds of “call” a man must experience before entering the pastorate: an internal call and an external call. While the word “call” is potentially misleading, the basic idea is right. Before becoming a pastor, a person should both desire to do the work and receive confirmation from a church. Part of doing both involves considering the biblical qualifications of an elder.
On the one hand, there seems to be no biblical indication that the New Testament office of elder or pastor requires a special “calling.”
A number of factors might compel a man searching for a pastorate toward one church or another. But there are at least two factors that, from the standpoint of prudence, are non-negotiables: